By David Stewart
It was a nasty, wet and cold Saturday night when the Artemus Volunteer Department hosted the SKFA (Southeastern Kentucky Firefighter’s Association) Christmas party. The community and families of firefighters were invited to eat a meal, bond together and be on hand for the voting in of new officers.
SKFA is an organization that covers 8 counties: Bell, Knox, Whitley, Clay, Laurel, Harlan, Rockastle and Jackson. The organization covers 76 Fire Departments (Artemus is one) under their umbrella. Not all departments belong to the organization. Annual dues are $25, and they meet every other month. Next month’s meeting will be held at the Middlesboro Fire Department; Thursday Jan. 15, at 7 p.m.
The SKFA officer’s election was conducted in an orderly fashion. This is the results: President Eric Philpot, 1st VP Brian Bullock, 2nd VP Terry Wattenbarger, Treasurer Reggie Morgan, Kentucky Firefighter’s Association Representative John Dyehouse, Chaplain Bill Ferro, Secretary J.R. Pearce.
These newly-elected officials will oversee the organization throughout the next year. They will also oversee the 41st Annual SKFA Fire School that will be held the third weekend of October 2015. Over 500 Kentucky firefighters took part in this training last year. Other states have taken part in the past. The State Fire Rescue Training Area 13, works hand in hand with SKFA during this event. President Eric Philpot offered, “The Training that will be offered varies from ‘what a brand new novice person must know’ thru the ‘standard mandatory 20 hours of training that every firefighter must have’ and up to the Advanced Firefighting Tactics for seasoned veterans. Somerset Community College will be the location for the in class teachings. The location of the ‘training inside burning buildings’ will be announced at a later date.”
Philpot also said, “If you wish to take part in the training or just wish to learn more, our website is SKFA.us. I would like to add that firefighting gets into your blood. Once you volunteer to do a little, you end up wanting to help more. That is why we have our annual Christmas dinner. We are thankful for our families, communities and our firefighters. Thank you to all who attended tonight, in spite of this bad weather.”